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Ghost Gunner: A CNC Mill For Making Untraceable Guns

Defense Distributed, the group that has been making headlines by using 3D printers to make guns and gun parts has some new headline material. They’ve just released their own CNC Mill, called the Ghost Gunner, specifically aimed at manufacturing reliable firearm parts.  The term “Ghost Gunner” is a reference to the fact that these parts, made in peoples homes, wouldn’t necessarily be stamped with a serial number and located in a database. In effect, these would be “ghosts”.

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How does a CNC mill specifically make gun parts?

Well, it doesn’t. Its just a mill. The size of the workable area is just large enough to do some milling on an AR15 lower (the important part that is usu1ally traced). Aside from the fact that the usable area is somewhat small for a CNC mill, it doesn’t have any specific features that make it a gun producing machine.  It may actually be a very nice general purpose desktop cnc mill, though many of the specs are still “TBD”.

The way that the Ghost Gunner furthers Defense Distributed’s cause is in the accessories and software that comes with the mill. If you purchase a pre milled “80% lower”, a piece that is 80% complete and totally legal, you can clamp it into the machine and hit a button and it will do the rest. The entire point of the Ghost Gunner is to make the process accessible to someone untrained and unskilled.  You just have to be willing to fork over the $999-1199 preorder.

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An 80% lower clamped into place in the Ghost Gunner, ready for completion

What do you think?

People have made weapons with nearly every technology ever invented. You can make a gun out of pretty much anything if you set your mind to it, even a shovel! Putting the ability to produce firearms into the hands of people who may not necessarily have previously had the skills could be a bit concerning, but do you have to be a master machinist to behave responsibly with a firearm?

Tell us what you think. How will this effect home manufacturing?

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “Ghost Gunner: A CNC Mill For Making Untraceable Guns

  1. I like watching Defense Distributed make these fun points about gun control, but it’s largely irrelevant to gun crime. Their 3d printed gun is slower and less reliable than more readily available mass produced guns, and this will likely be less convenient and trustworthy than a mass produced ar15 as well. Also, if crimes committed with long guns were the only gun crimes we had, nobody would care about a gun control debate.

    1. I totally agree with your points. Though, you can have a pretty garbage lower, but if the trigger and hammer pin holes are within specs, and you buy a quality upper, the rifle will probably be as reliable as an AR platform can be. Short of using inferior materials, the lower can be somewhat out of spec (excluding the mentioned bits) and still be functional/reliable. This was one of the production features designed into it.

    2. Have to agree with Andy. As long as the lower holds the receiver extension in the right location relative to the bolt carrier group and the trigger hole placement is accurate relative to the upper pin holes, the gun will shoot as well as any AR-15 on the market. If the work is so poor that it doesn’t do those things, then it’s an expensive aluminum paperweight.

  2. I am a gun owner, but think this is a bad idea. Making production more accessable will bring the type of attention from lawmakers that the gun or maker community do not need.

    1. Who do the lawmakers work for? You and I. Don’t be afraid of them. Make them afraid of losing their cushy offices and staffers, and they’ll come around.

      Best,
      JBR

      1. I am not afraid of lawmakers, I am more afraid of losing the support of many of the moderates that support our gun rights, but do not own any themselves. If we continue with a bullheaded approach that many in the gun lobby want, it will turn their sentiment against us. I am not against personal manufacturing, but is should be handled more delicately, as to not draw the attention of some of these politicians who want to demonize us in order to make a name for themselves. This company seems to want to push the envelope, and challenge the government.

        1. You are not quite grasping what they are trying to do. They are trying to make the manufacturing of firearms so simplistic that legislating them out of existence will be impossible. Their end game is absolute victory in the war on innumerable rights, and I support them.

          If they complete their task, anti 2nd amendment lobbying tactics won’t matter anymore.

          1. I do in fact understand their goal, but in the current state of affairs, to come out and basically say, “buy my machine and you can make untraceable guns”, is not portraying the right image. What you are talking about is a pipe dream, there will always be an anti-gun crowd, that will go out and vote for anti-gun politicians that will fight against us. I would love to see this company succeed and reach the point you describe, but it will very likely never happen.

          2. Don’t be so defeatist, sir.

            A positive anything is better than a negative nothing.
            Don’t begrudge DD for making a go of pushing the boundaries.

            You may not agree with their methodologies, but at least they’re doing something.

            The anti-gunners will always be against us. Their fear is irrational and unwavering. But it’s a constant that can be easily factored for in the equation of keeping (and advancing) our civil liberties, including the human right of self defense.

            Best,
            JBR

        2. I am less concerned with the moderates, because they’re usually too busy with professional sports and reality TV to make any political decisions.

          I’m more concerned about Luddite politicians who would just as happily ban CNC machines and 3d printers as they would firearms.

          Case in point: corrupt CA State Senator Leland Yee. Before he was busted for arms trafficking, Yee was one of California’s most outspoken gun grabber politicians. He also wanted to license and register 3d printers. That’s the kind of mindset we have to be actively pushing against.

          The easiest way is to nip the Luddites in the bud, and vote them out. Trying to woo the squishy, distracted public takes massive resources. Our efforts are best utilized by working from the top down. The rest will follow.

          Does that mean picking our battles? Sure. But you’re still going to have to battle. Sitting on the sidelines and letting others do the heavy lifting, lending only your criticism of their efforts, only helps the other side.

          Best,
          JBR

          1. Voting out the gun grabbers is a nice sentiment, if it in fact worked. How long have people like Feinstein been in office? I have friends who support gun rights, and are hunters, but still vote liberal, because of other issues, thinking their guns are protected.

            Back to my original post. I think DD should move forward with sales and distribution, as far as marketing, push it in the gun markets, just not blatantly advertise the “ghost gun”, angle. That is a battle we just don’t need to fight.

        3. “I am more afraid of losing the support of many of the moderates that support our gun rights, but do not own any themselves. If we continue with a bullheaded approach that many in the gun lobby want, it will turn their sentiment against us.”
          You are a wise man, Chris. As a Canadian I can tell you by observation that moderation always leads to more freedom than the extremism I see in America. Some extreme anti-gun people managed to get a long-gun registry started in Canada. Our general overwhelming moderation attitude eventually saw it dismantled because moderates tend to look over things logically, not irrationally.
          ps – to those of you about to start flaming about Canadian socialist oppression, have a quick read of our gun laws. They’re perfect, in my opinion. I’ll be enjoying them this weekend as I go out skeet shooting and maybe grab a couple rabbits for dinner.

    2. “I support guns, but…” is always a funny argument to me. And it’s always made by people who don’t really support gun rights. This is the internet. No reason to lie to any of us. And lying to yourself is just pathetic. You have my pity, guy… :(

      1. The only pathetic thing here is your trolling. Please come back when you can carry on an intelligent discussion, and not resort to childish personal attacks.

      2. Really? I recently had to buy a bigger safe to handle my collection, I’m excitedly getting five NFA items this year before the rules change, I’ve been a lifelong financial contributor to gun rights groups, including the NRA.

        But… I still know for a fact that open carriers are doing all gun owners great harm with their confrontational tactics that alienate those who are for responsible liberty, but don’t see open carriers as being responsible.

        On the DIY guns thing, I’m a little less fearful than Chris. The fact that I’ve built three AR’s, a 10/22, and a 1911 (that one didn’t turn out well) and I’m messing around with the idea of 3d printing one of the warfairy designs to see how it shoots…

        1. I share your sentiment about open carry, which is similar in concept to this issue. Image is very important right now. I really don’t fear DIY guns, in fact, I badly want this machine, but this could easily be twisted, and become one of the examples the anti-gun crowd use to indoctrinate the masses into believing guns are evil, and all gun owners have illegal intentions.

        2. You two are funny not all Open Carry people are like the confrontational type, most are not actually maybe 24 people are out there looking for trouble not many more than that, the rest carry every day in the open with out issue how do I know this because I live, and Open Carry in this very liberal state called Washington, and the worst I have ever had was a cop glance over, and a super lib huf, but in 4 years of open carry nothing more than that, no confrontations by police. Then again I don’t walk around with an AR15 nor do I advocate for long gun carry its just stupid unless your hunting, and no one will really call the police if you have a standard hunting rifle on your back because its clear what your doing. My pistol is a XDm in a stage 2 holster I dress well, and am out going on the nice side, not creepy outgoing mind you just outgoing like the 50s where men hold the door, and say nice things to people in the store, and do their best to be kind to others. I have ended 2 arguments while Open Carry without ever bringing up the firearm, Open Carry prevented my family from being attacked by Gang members of the 88th st. gang in Tacoma, and Open Carrying stopped two people who were going to do something really stupid. I never once needed to put my hand on it act like I was going to draw, or be a dick, I am a Veteran, and was trained in de-escalation I don’t need a gun unless some one is going to be violent. Also your view on the concept of OC verse Conceal. more conceal carriers die every year than OC, in fact only 2 people in the last 50 years have died while OC one killed by over zealous cops which is a major issue these days, the other was an elderly man who did not have any form of retention and the man pulled it from a 72 year old man not exactly hard to do. compare though that nearly 300 conceal carriers die every year, and prospective is put on it. Some morons keep saying oh open carry makes you a target bull, I had friends who chose to become criminals went to see them in prison, they said they would not risk a life sentence, or the death penalty on some cash, if they saw me open carrying or any one else they would wait till we left or go somewhere else. visible force is more of a deterrent to them, if they don’t see one its worth the risk because most people are not armed, so the odds go from 100% to about 30% you think criminals are stupid not even close, poor choices don’t mean a lack of intelligence they just mean they have a lack of morals.

          1. I also open carry when hunting/hiking/camping in eastern WA, but not in Seattle where I live and work (I CCW there).

            When I say that “open carriers are doing all gun owners great harm” I was imprecise, but figured that we were all able to figure out that I’m talking about open carriers packing urban Starbucks with slung AR-15’s “to make a point” and not everyone who walks around strapped, especially in areas where that’s already unsurprising.

            I apologize for any confusion created because I wasn’t specific enough, especially since I do open carry on occasion.

    3. They can’t legally stop home production anyway clearly your not familiar with Supreme Court rulings of the past, and the fact that a home production does not fall under interstate commerce means that 1. the feds can’t legally do a damn thing about it, and 2.states can’t legally require any more than is already required of Home built guns. Thank you Supreme Court. Home built is in fact more of a right than any other gun, even in states with strict rules self production can not be stopped for personal use. Even Commifornia, and Sh*tcago can’t stop them. Look up the Supreme court rulings on home built firearms and you find what you need. :)

      1. Complacency in believing the government can’t do anything can hurt the cause. I am not paranoid, I just believe the gun industry should not give the anti’s some “ammo”.

      2. Clearly you don’t keep up to date on SCOTUS decisions. 2008 Raich V. United States. It’s a ridiculous decision, completely wrong but until it’s overturned the interstate commerce clause has infinite jurisdiction. Anything that could potentially enter into interstate commerce (legal or illegal market) is within their regulatory purview.

  3. Just so people know, you can make any gun with simple house tools and a trip to the hardware store. You can make a simple single shot 12 gauge shotgun with nothing more than a nail a bit of pipe and a few fittings. Hell when I was in high school a kid made a .22 pistol as a shop project (it was OK’ed by the principle as long as the gun was never assembled on campus). A lathe and drill was all that was used!

    1. Don’t need a lathe for a .22. You can use a section of a $30 barrel liner epoxied into a chunk of something that can hold the breech on (any old steel will do) or a $2 piece of 5/16″ .028 wall brake line with a flare nut if you don’t care about accuracy or fast reloading.

      We made little .22 blackpowder cannon out of brass in our shop class. The machining on my trunions kind of sucked so my elevation was erratic and I only got a “B”.

  4. “Putting the ability to produce firearms into the hands of people who may not necessarily have previously had the skills could be a bit concerning, but do you have to be a master machinist to behave responsibly with a firearm?”

    It is no different from showing someone how to make a crossbow with no previous experience and letting them have at it. It is a tool (any weapon in question) and people misuse tools all the time. An unsafe crossbow is just as dangerous as an unsafe firearm.

    Responsible people will act responsibly. Irresponsible people will act irresponsibly. It doesn’t matter what they have in their hands when acting.

  5. Interesting video. I think they are generating negative publicity, but I think they come from a good standpoint. A few “Rapid fire” facts:
    1. Nothing illegal here; it’s not a “loophole” (100% BATFE legal… States vary).
    2. you can finish an 80% lower with a drill press, a vise, a file, and a few drill bits.
    3. 3d printers can’t even come close with printing… duh!
    4. Criminals will break whatever laws they want to… That’s why they’re criminals!

  6. In case any of you don’t know. This is not new. This has been happening for some while. Groups of people find a local cnc shop ask him to load up a program from the company they bought the 80% completed lower. Then a bunch of people show up vice their lower in a press a button… The technical name for all this is a build party…. and its absolutely awesome. No one needs to know if I have 1 or 1000 guns that’s my business so if they are making a table top version. I’m in!

  7. I’ve read that ~95% of gun deaths are with handguns, not rifles. I’d guess this machine is a simple way to skirt regulations. Guns with no numbers, and full-auto.
    But this machine can likely make a complete handgun. And guns can be purchased anywhere. Why would you need to make them? Only to skirt the laws. (and mass-producing is the goal. Who will spend $1100 to make a gun, as a hobby?)
    Personally, I don’t see the need for guns. I’d never have one in the house. And I live in a somewhat violent city, filled with immigrants. Might someone break in? Yes. But the odds are slim. I also understand the dangers of driving and biking – but I do it. Far more people are killed in the home by family members. (read: the guy!). And in an invasion, you’d better have that gun in your lap, ready. I choose not to live like that. If I die being wrong, that’s the risk of life.
    The problem is, America is a violent country. Whether you are a gang member or a quiet suburban guy. None of us are angels, and we are all capable of snapping. Ever experience road rage? Now picture a gun on your lap.

    1. No full auto, where’d you come up with that? Full auto requires a part that can get you jailed just for possessing it even if you don’t own the rifle it goes in. No, this machine doesn’t make handguns, it will mill the partial lower receiver for an AR-15. Your comprehension of the story isn’t very high, is it? You anti-2A types see boogy men everywhere, that’s one of the problems trying to have a sensible debate. A machine that finishes one part of one rifle suddenly is making complete handguns and full-auto machine guns, but all that is only in your fever swamp of a brain. Wait a minute, is that you Kevin?

    2. No, this machine cannot make a complete handgun, nor can it make a full-auto anything.

      This machine can only machine the fire control pocket from an 80% complete AR-15 lower, and without modification, it will only machine the semi-auto fire control pocket. All that comes out of the machine is a complete semi-auto AR lower receiver. Even if you did modify this machine to mill the full-auto fire control pocket, you’d still need to add the third pin hole in the right location (which would turn possession of the resulting lower receiver into a federal crime) and then you’d need to fully populate the lower with a full-auto trigger group (very hard to come by) before you actually had a full-auto anything.

      On the handgun side of things, you can make an AR pistol from an AR lower that hasn’t been made into a rifle, but it’s a pretty terrible pistol. First of all, it’s huge, about 20″ from front to back, which makes an AR pistol basically a poor man’s SBR. And you’re still going to need several hundred $’s worth of parts to get there once you’ve made the lower.

    3. You are exactly the kind of person that doesn’t need to be involved in this debate. Every state in this country allows concealed carry in some form, and 45 of those states allow open carry. And there is no blood in the streets or Mad Max type situations on the freeway. Unless you live in Chicago, which has the strictest gun control laws in the country.

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Senior Editor for Make: I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity of the masses! My favorite thing in the world is sharing the hard work of a maker.

I'd always love to hear about what you're making, so send me an email any time at caleb@make.co

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